JULY Friday 29
According to the folks who've organized the First Annual Underground Film Festival, an underground film is one made by "the truly independent filmmaker--the kind who lives off beans and rice and hides from his landlord for months in order to see his vision on film or video." (They probably meant to say his or her vision.) When pressed for specifics, they'll note that to qualify for the fest, which runs through Sunday at the Bismarck Hotel, 171 W. Randolph, films must have been made for $40,000 or less and must not have been filmed on professional 35-millimeter stock. Call the fest at 862-4182 or see Section 2 for schedules and info. Passes are $25 for the entire festival or $12.50 for one day; most single screenings are $5. In conjunction with the fest, cable access producer Kelly Kuvo is hosting a party tonight called Chicago Underground Scene, featuring an unusual screening of Star Wars. The movie will be projected with no sound track. The dialogue will be uttered offscreen by actors, and music will be provided by two local experimental rock groups, the Flying Luttenbachers and Math. The party starts at 8 PM at the Hub movie theater, 1746 W. Chicago. The screening is scheduled for 11 PM. It's $5; call 226-0313 for details.
Annie Leibovitz was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute when she persuaded a young Jann Wenner to let her shoot for Rolling Stone. One of her first photos accompanied Wenner's famous two-part interview with John Lennon; later she covered Nixon's resignation. Leibovitz went on to become a noted portraitist for Vanity Fair and a much-in-demand commercial photographer. One of her clients, American Express, is sponsoring Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990. The free show opens today and will remain on view in the fourth-floor exhibit hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, through October 2. It's open 10 to 7 Monday through Thursday, 10 to 6 Friday, 10 to 5 Saturday, and noon to 5 Sunday. Call 744-6630.
The barrage of street fairs continues with two offerings, each claiming to be the city's biggest. Northalsted Market Days runs from noon to 9 PM today and tomorrow on Halsted between Belmont and Addison. This year's main event is "Virtually There: An Adventure in Motion," an 18-person "motion simulation theater" that uses hydraulics, film, and sound to shake viewers up. Otherwise, expect the usual melange of food and product vendors, along with music on three stages. Admission to the fair is $1. Call 868-3010 for details. Taste of Lincoln Avenue, on Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood, generally boasts the best music programming of any street fair. Two days of music on three stages include the Bottle Rockets and Goober and the Peas today at 4:30 and 6:30 PM, respectively, and a nice lineup of local alternative bands on Sunday, including Mint Aundry at 1:30 PM, Number One Cup at 3 PM, and the weird cabaret music of Maestro Subgum and the Whole at 4:30 PM. Admission is $3. Call 472-9046 for more.
Get a glimpse into how the music business really works at a mock record contract negotiation deal put on by ASCAP today. The free seminar will feature a couple of music-business lawyers putting each other through the ringer. The session goes from 3 to 6 PM. Break for dinner and then come back at 7:30 for an ASCAP songwriters' showcase ($3 cover), featuring music from Jason Narducy, Tirzah, Chika, the Rain Kings, Mark Watson, and others. It's all at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont. Call them at 281-4444 for more.
Having triumphantly crashed last year's Bud Billiken Parade, Active Proud Black Lesbians and Gays are getting ready for a repeat performance. They meet tonight at the Clubhouse bar, 440 N. Halsted, to get ready for this year's march, scheduled for August 13. The agenda for the free party also includes guest speakers and videos from last year. Everything starts at 8 PM. Call 493-3848.
AUGUST Monday 1
The Harold Washington Library is a curious place. It looks lavish enough, but it's hard to find the actual library through the maze of escalators and hallways, the elevators barely work, and the computer system is impenetrable. What's more, the place barely has any books. But if you somehow manage to work your way up to the Winter Garden on the ninth floor, you'll find Faces of Sorrow: Agony in the Former Yugoslavia, a bleak exhibit of photographs documenting the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. The library's at 400 S. State; it's open 9 to 7 Monday, 11 to 7 Tuesday and Thursday, and 9 to 5 Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The free exhibit has been extended through August 15. Call 747-4999 for more.
The Minimum Wage Theatre Company's play All Chicks Go to Florida is a new comedy about "friendship, card games, sloth, performance art, cat shows, postcards, synchronicity, sleep, tattoos, cake, pajamas, trickle-down economics, cigarettes, psychics, malls and the madonna-whore complex." Or so say the folks at Cafe Voltaire, where the work is playing Sundays at 2 and Mondays at 9 through August 29. It costs $5. The cafe is at 3231 N. Clark. Call 528-3136.
The disciples of self-styled guru Andrew Cohen insist that "what makes Andrew such a unique and powerful voice in the modern spiritual world is his absolute and unwavering pursuit of what is actually true." What does Andrew say to earn such acclaim? "If you can find your way to live your life completely, if you can finally come to terms with yourself and with the mystery of what it means to be alive, then you have an extraordinary life in front of you." Such tidbits of wisdom will be dispensed over three days, not by Cohen himself, but by videos of him talking, at three different locations this week. Seekers of truth can watch tonight at the International Association for World Peace, 3121 N. Lincoln, at 6; tomorrow at 8 at Isis Rising, 1129 W. Emerson in Evanston; and Thursday at 7:30 at Turtle Island Books, 7001 N. Glenwood. Each showing is free and will be followed by a discussion with some of Cohen's students. Call 202-7009 for more.
Tonight at the Guild Complex at the HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee, any Illinois writer who released a book in 1993 can take the stage and read from his or her work. It starts at 7:30; admission is $4, $2 for readers. For further info, call 278-2210.
For Link's Hall's annual Chance Dance Fest, Chicago modern dance choreographer Bob Eisen shares the stage with a variety of dancers, performers, and musicians Wednesdays in August. Eisen, along with colleagues Amy Alt, Chia-Yu Chang, and Sheldon B. Smith, will dance tonight with the dance-performance group Fluid Measure Performance Company; next Wednesday, August 10, with performer Frank Melcori; August 17 with choreographer Charlie Vernon; August 24 with dancer and choreographer Anthony Gongora; and August 31 with performance artist and singer Jenny Magnus. All shows are at 8 PM and all are $5. Link's Hall is at 3435 N. Sheffield. Call 281-0824 for details.
The Friends of Downtown's close monitoring of the progress of the Central Area Circulator Project--the official name of the new downtown trolley program--continues today with its monthly brown-bag lunch meeting. The topic is key findings of the federal environmental impact report on the project. The free program begins at noon in the second-floor theater of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 977-0098 for more information.